Head of Penal Service: Security of election observers will be ensured in prisons in Azerbaijan (INTERVIEW)
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 2 /Trend, K.Zarbaliyeva/
Trend interviews the Deputy Justice Minister, Chief of the Penal Service, Lieutenant-General
Nazim Alekperov, regarding the organization and conduct of parliamentary elections in the prisons.
Trend: How is the preparation for parliamentary elections in prisons in Azerbaijan? What does the prepared action plan envisage?
Nazim Alekperov: A special action plan regarding the parliamentary elections, which will be held on Nov. 7, has been prepared and approved for the Penal Service. It includes close cooperation polling station commissions which will be organized in penal institutions, detention centers and military structures, with the district election commissions, as well as specifying the voter lists, providing prisoners with special certificates by the CEC to vote, enlightenment work regarding the elections and creating conditions for campaigning of candidates.
As it was previously, a detailed media coverage of activities related to the elections and the election process at polling stations in prisons will be fully ensured. At the same time, the public will be informed of all preparatory activities, the activities of the polling stations in the prisons and the results of the voting through the web page of the Penal Service.
The implementation of planned activities has already begun. Thus, a training seminar has been conducted for employees of the Service and members of 18 electoral commissions of Narimanov-Nizami district on Oct. 19 in the Penal Service's training centre. On Oct. 27, the headquarters of the Penal Service hosted an extended meeting with the officials of the Service. The meeting was also attended by the CEC Secretary Natig Mammadov.
Q: How many polling stations will be opened in prisons?
A: About 23 polling stations will be created in the prisons. These stations will cover 14 constituencies. With regards to the number of voting inmates, it is constantly changing, and according to the requirements of the Electoral Code, this number will be clarified by the election commissions established within the Penal Service prior to the elections. All necessary conditions will be created for participation of all prisoners eligible to vote.
Q: What activities are conducted in prisons for campaigning candidates?
A: As required by law, all necessary conditions have been created for campaigning candidates in the prisons. Thus, all materials (platforms, booklets, etc.) that are provided by the district election commissions to promote candidates are made available in the prisons. Also all conditions have been created to familiarize inmates with the election campaign of candidates through the media, including watching the candidate debates that take place on Public television.
Q: Will conditions be created for the media representatives and observers to monitor the voting process in prisons?
A: The CEC has already provided samples of certificates that are issued to the election observers. They have been sent to the prisons. As before, members of the district election commissions, observers and media representatives will be ensured with full compliance with their official duties. At the same time, all necessary measures have been taken to ensure free entry and security of these persons in the prisons.
All necessary measures are taken to ensure freedom of choice of prisoners and hold free, transparent and democratic elections in the prisons. Like previous years, we will not allow any violations of the law.